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  • Free Agent Pitching: 20/20 Hindsight

    By the end of the coming weekend, the Twins will have reached the one-quarter mark of the season with 40+ games under their belts. Itís as good a time as any to reflect upon how some of the decisions made by General Manager Terry Ryan in building the teamís roster have turned out.

    As a team, the Twins have been hovering over the .500 mark most of the season and, after Monday nightís win over the White Sox, they are one game over the break-even point. Over the weekend, Ryan told 1500ESPN that .500 wasnít what he was looking for out of this team, that he wanted them to be contenders. Itís great, of course, for your teamís GM to say that kind of thing, but I think most fans would have been pretty satisfied with the prospects of a .500 year out of this Twins team.

    This article was originally posted Tuesday, May 14 at Knuckleballsblog.com.



    Terry Ryan (Photo: Knuckleballs/Jim Crikket)

    You also have to consider that those words were coming out of the same mouth that, last November, told TwinsDailyís John Bonnes that the Twins would be pursuing one of the ďpretty darn goodĒ pitchers on the free agent market last season and then went out and made Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey the cornerstones of the teamís free agent class.

    In that same interview, Ryan also told Bonnes that he felt the free agent pitching market was, ďthin,Ē when most of us felt there was a pretty solid group of middle-to-upper-half of the rotation arms available.

    Now, looking back over the first six weeks of the season, is it possible Terry Ryan was right?

    Back on November 20, I posted an article at Knuckleballs in which I shared my wish list of free agent pitchers for Ryan and the Twins to pursue. Other fans and writers were naturally sharing their own advice for the Twins GM about the same time. Letís see how our suggestions have been panning out compared to the guys Ryan actually signed for the Twins.

    Not many of us were suggesting the Twins should (or even could) sign Zack Greinke, who eventually signed a six-year deal for $159 million with the Dodgers. Greinke was actually off to a decent start until he broke his collarbone (or rather, Carlos Quentin broke Greinkeís collarbone). Maybe Greinke will bounce back and pay dividends on his deal with the Dodgers, but Iím not sorry the Twins didnít try to outbid the Dodgers for his services.

    I argued in my post that the Twins should go ahead and pursue not one, but two of the other big dogs among the free agent pitching class, Anibal Sanchez and Edwin Jackson.

    Sanchez is one guy who is putting up the kind of numbers you would hope for, so far, as his 2.05 ERA , 1.082 WHIP and 66 strikeouts in 52.2 innings would attest. However, he eventually re-signed with the Tigers (5 years/$88 million), so thereís certainly doubt as to whether he and his agent would ever have even considered a move to Target Field.

    Jackson, on the other hand, is not exactly earning his 4 year/$52 million contract with the Cubs. Yes, heís striking out almost one batter per inning pitched, but otherwise, his 6.02 ERA and 1.569 WHIP are pretty close to what the Twins are getting out of Mike Pelfrey (6.03/1.689)Ö and Ryan is on the hook for about $48 million less than Theo Epstein owes Jackson.

    The third pitcher on my wish list was Joe Saunders. I felt the Twins needed another lefty in the rotation and while he wasnít likely to be a headliner, Saunders looked to me like a good bet to be a solid middle of the rotation pitcher for the next couple of years. When he eventually signed with the Mariners for just one year and $6.5 million, I was pretty certain the Twins would regret not outbidding the Mís for Saundersí services (though I recall there was some talk about Saunders not being interested in pitching for the Twins, regardless).

    Saunders has pieced together a 3-4 record despite a 5.51 ERA and a 1.521 WHIP. Heís struck out exactly as many hitters (20) as Correia has for the Twins, but has walked more than twice as many batters. Correiaís ERA (3.09) and WHIP (1.200) are certainly looking better than Saundersí.

    So maybe my ideas, outside of Sanchez, werenít as good as I thought they were (and apparently not as good as the ideas Ryan and his staff were having at the time).

    But what about the other pitchers on the market last off season? With all of the talent we thought was out there, surely there must have been several pitchers that have turned out to make the GMs who signed them look smart.

    Many of the best options, like Sanchez, were re-signed by their 2012 clubs or, in some cases, had options picked up by their teams. But there were still a number of pitchers generating buzz among the Twins faithful.

    There was some chatter about Dan Haren, who ended up with the Nationals on a one-year deal for $13 million. Heís put up a 5.17 ERA and a 1.487 WHIP while striking out 27 batters in 38.1 innings over seven starts. Thatís not real impressive to me, but hey, he does have a 4-3 record if thatís what youíre in to.

    Brandon McCarthy was also a hot commodity in the blogging world. He got a two-year deal from the DíBacks totaling $18 million. For that, heís accumulated a 5.63 ERA, a 1.542 WHIP, and has gone winless. Iíve read that McCarthy has been ďunlucky,Ē as reflected in a higher than average batting average on balls in play (BABIP). Thatís fine. But if you buy that, you need to also give a couple of the Twins (such as Pelfrey and, to an even greater degree, Vance Worley) pitchers the benefit of the same doubt for their ďbad luck.Ē

    Ryan Dempster got beat up a bit by the Blue Jays on Sunday, but I donít think the Red Sox are doubting their two-year/$26.5 million investment too much, so far. Heís got a 3.75 ERA, even after giving up six earned runs to the Jays in five innings of work. His 1.146 WHIP is certainly competitive, but itís his 61 strike outs in 48 innings thatís perhaps more impressive. Again, I donít think there was ever any chance Dempster would sign with the Twins since he likely had more than enough suitors from among contending teams.

    Shawn Marcum, though, was certainly a guy that a number of Twins fans thought might be obtainable by the club. Marcum signed a one-year deal with the Mets for just $4 million. It turns out the Mets may have overpaid. Marcum has put up a nasty looking 8.59 ERA to go with a 2.045 WHIP. Heís thrown only 14.2 innings covering three starts and one relief appearance.

    Were you one of the fans touting Joe Blanton as a possible Twins rotation addition? If so, you might want to keep it to yourself. Blanton signed with the Angels for $15 million over two years and has repaid them with a 0-7 record covering eight starts. His 6.46 ERA and 1.870 WHIP would indicate his record is not terribly misleading.

    Itís starting to look like Terry Ryanís assessment of the pitching market as ďthinĒ might have actually been pretty accurate, isnít it?

    But certainly there must be some success stories, right? Of course there are.

    If, while the rest of us were laughing at the absurdity of the Royals signing Jeremy Guthrie to a 3 year/$25 million contract, you were actually going on the record saying it was a shrewd move certain to pay dividends, give yourself a pat on the back.

    Guthrie is 5-0 with the Royals and while heís not striking a ton of hitters out (30 Ks in 47.1 innings), heís put up a 2.28 ERA and a 1.183 WHIP in his seven starts for the Royals. Heís gone at least six innings in every start and has one complete game shutout of the White Sox to his credit. Oh yeah, and the Royals are three games above .500 going in to Tuesday nightís games, 1 Ĺ games behind Division leading Detroit.

    Of course, Guthrie isnít the only free agent pitcher making his GM look wise.

    Carlos Villanueva and Scott Feldman were among the pitchers Epstein added to the Cubs and itís pretty clear that neither of them are primarily responsible for the Cubs being six games under .500. Villanueva sports a 3.02 ERA and a 1.007 WHIP, but has only one win in seven starts to show for his efforts. Feldmanís ERA is even lower, at 2.53 and his WHIP is a very respectable 1.148. Heís actually gotten enough support to put up a 3-3 record.

    Maybe Iím wrong, but I just donít recall a lot of wailing about Terry Ryan allowing Villanueva and Feldman to slip through his fingers. And before you credit Theo Epstein for being so much more brilliant than Terry Ryan, take a look at what Epstein and the Cubs are getting in return for outbidding Ryan for the services of Scott Baker this season. Bakerís next pitch in a Cubs uniform (if he ever makes one) will be his first.

    There are probably a few more pitchers worth checking in on that are escaping me at the moment. But from the looks of things, Iím starting to think Correia and Pelfrey werenít such bad ideas after all. Iím not convinced Correia will continue to perform at the levels of his first few starts, but I do think that as Pelfrey continues to work out the post-TJ-surgery kinks, he may actually improve as the year goes on.

    Even with the benefit of perfect hindsight, Iím not 100% sure Iíd jump for joy at those free agent signings, but I certainly like the way theyíve turned out so far a whole lot better than most of the other options.
    This article was originally published in blog: Free Agent Pitching: 20/20 Hindsight started by SD Buhr
    Comments 69 Comments
    1. drjim's Avatar
      drjim -
      Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
      How a FA pitches after he has signed is irrelevant to passing judgement on the signing. The signing and the subsequent season are two distinct and separate events and must be judged as such. All that matters is what Ryan knew and believed before he signed Correia and Pelfrey.

      Here is a hypothetical to help illustrate my point. A GM signs a FA pitcher. After the signing the pitcher is in a car crash and can never play baseball again. Did the GM make a bad decision by signing said pitcher? Of course not, unless you think the GM should have forseen the car accident before he signed the pitcher. If you want a slightly less abstract version think about the extension just given to the Blue Jays JA Happ. Does the GM deserve flak because Happ took a line drive to the head and may never be the same pitcher?

      Pelfrey is an example of the opposite. Ryan knew that Pelfrey was coming off of TJ surgery, knew that no one had ever come back that quickly let alone be good. On top of that Pelfrey has been a below average pitcher for his career. These are all things that were known to Ryan before Pelfrey signed. Obviously things have not worked out well for Pelfrey so far this season.

      So, it's not about what a pitcher does after the signing. It is about what the GM knewbefore the pitcher was signed that is important.
      This is so bizarre to me. A car crash seems a bit extreme and doubtful that anyone would fault a GM for that. But if they pass on guys who have subsequently gotten injured or have not performed while actually pitching that seems relevant to me no matter what they did in the past. As was mentioned everyone has the same numbers. It is how you fuse them with scouting work to maximize results that matters the most.

      I was not especially impressed with what Ryan did for pitching and it is still way too early to suggest he did well, but I also fall in the category of those that think the market was very thin so the overall options were limited.
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      I may not be adding anything, but Oxtung is quite correct. Probabilistically and assuming 1:1 payment for comparative value, the general managers who chose better pitchers given the entirety of the pre-season information - to include none of what might be deemed hindsight - are doing better than those who pick up worse pitchers.

      Where I think those of you who are disagreeing with Oxtung actually disagree is in the fact that probabilistic outcomes don't determine playoff teams or World Series winners. The games themselves do, and as we see year after year after year, luck can be a harsh mistress or a generous lover, depending on which team she favors. There's probably a Yogi Berra quote that addresses this somewhere...

      In any case, the decisions made in the pre-season must be evaluated in light of pre-season information because it is the only - ONLY - way to control for luck. A general manager may turn out to be right, or he may just look right once they start playing the games and get a little lucky.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by Twins Fan From Afar View Post
      I respectfully disagree with just about everything here. Terry Ryan, and the Twins' front office, earn their salaries, in large part, by predicting future performance. Whether it's an 18 year-old outfielder who is eligible for the MLB Draft, or a free agent pitcher coming off a tough season or a significant injury. That's precisely the expertise that the Twins, and their fans, rely on with Ryan & Company.

      Your argument cites completely unforeseeable incidents such as car crashes and line drives to the head. Come on. There's many, many more (foreseeable) Jason Marquis stories each year than there are (unforeseeable) J.A. Happ stories.

      Of course, I agree that part of it is what the GM knew beforehand, but everyone has access to that information. The more important part is what the GM does with that information, and how he is able to use that information to predict future performance.
      I'm not sure what you're disagreeing with since you just made the same argument I did....

      Foreseeable
      predicting the future
      what a GM does with the information

      All of these terms are about the knowledge he had before he signed the contracts.

      Jason Marquis wasn't a bad signing because he had a bad season. Any pitcher can have a bad season. Jason Marquis was a bad signing because he had huge flaws that Ryan knew about before Marquis signed here and yet Ryan signed him anyways.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by drjim View Post
      This is so bizarre to me. A car crash seems a bit extreme and doubtful that anyone would fault a GM for that. But if they pass on guys who have subsequently gotten injured or have not performed while actually pitching that seems relevant to me no matter what they did in the past. As was mentioned everyone has the same numbers. It is how you fuse them with scouting work to maximize results that matters the most.

      I was not especially impressed with what Ryan did for pitching and it is still way too early to suggest he did well, but I also fall in the category of those that think the market was very thin so the overall options were limited.
      I don't think you and I are disagreeing at all here. Injuries are things a GM would know about before he signs a pitcher (unless obviously the injury occurs after signing). If a GM knows of an injury then it is fair game to judge him based on that knowledge. But again...it is the fact that he knew about the injury prior to signing the pitcher that is the important part.

      You also talk about using scouting. Well scouting is something that a GM is going to know about before the player signs. If a GM signs an elite player that the scouts love, the doctors clear and has a history of pitching well and then that pitcher has a terrible year is that on the GM? No, sometimes players just have bad years.

      On the other hand if a GM signs a guy with many red flags and that player performs poorly is that on the GM? Of course.

      So both pitchers perform poorly but in one case the GM is forgiven. What's the difference? The knowledge before the pitchers signed. That is what matters.
    1. DutchFarmer's Avatar
      DutchFarmer -
      Just think if we were to publicly finance a new stadium for the team. Then they would be able to afford to sign a Greinke or a Sanchez....ah well, pipe dream, as they are stuck with a stadium that doesn't bring in the revenues to allow the team to sign anything more than low-mid level FA's.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
      I'm not sure what you're disagreeing with since you just made the same argument I did....

      Foreseeable
      predicting the future
      what a GM does with the information

      All of these terms are about the knowledge he had before he signed the contracts.

      Jason Marquis wasn't a bad signing because he had a bad season. Any pitcher can have a bad season. Jason Marquis was a bad signing because he had huge flaws that Ryan knew about before Marquis signed here and yet Ryan signed him anyways.
      I would agree that in the strictest of senses, "what was known at the time the decision is made" is what's important in evaluating decision making. But I'm not at all sure "signing free agents in professional baseball" falls entirely into that circumstance.

      GM'ing is part science, part art. Interpreting known data, and using it to predict the future, is part of it, and there's certainly some science to it.

      But I think part of it also is the art of guessing how a player will fit into your roster, how his performance will translate into wins/losses, how he will be received by your customers and generate add'l revenue. The art of determining how much to offer a free agent, in terms of dollars and years, so that your offer has a chance to be the best, but not the best by so far as to be out of line. Even predicting the likelihood of health is as much art as science, IMO. We're also dealing with human beings here, so it's fair to say GMs must guess at human traits. "Will the guy continue to work hard if he gets financial security?" is one that comes to mind.

      Bottom line, I think it's fair to evaluate GM decisions both at the time they are made, and--while keeping that in mind and tempering your conclusions--to also make some evaluations based on results.

      I think over time some GMs prove to make more good decisions than than bad, and I think one reason for that could be they are better "artists" than other GMs, as well as or instead of being better "scientists."
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
      Bah the whole premise of this article is illogical. You can't use future results to judge a past event unless those results are knowable before the event occurs. All that mattered is what Ryan knew before he signed Correia and Pelfrey. Anything that has happened since then is irrelevant.
      So the premise of this article is that maybe, just maybe, Ryan knew some stuff before he signed those players, stuff that you can't find in FanGraphs. But, like any good experiment, you don't actually know your prediction is right until it is proven. The proof is in the performance of the pitchers.
    1. whydidnt's Avatar
      whydidnt -
      Well, I just don't think that we can fully judge these decisions based upon less than 10 starts for all these guys. I'll even go out on a limb and say that even with the lousy starts that by the end of the year McCarthy and Marcum will outperform anyone on the Twins staff, and Villaneuva will be as good as any of the guys. I was never a proponent of signing Blanton or Saunders, they are more of the same.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      It's fair to say no team is relying on any of these pitchers to win, with the possible exceptions of Boston and Detroit. At 1/4 of the way through the season, I think we have enough evidence to justify Ryan's claim that the FA market for starters was "thin", and not to expect much from any of them. At best they are stop gaps until the young studs are ready. We all knew that coming into the season.
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      I think over time some GMs prove to make more good decisions than than bad, and I think one reason for that could be they are better "artists" than other GMs, as well as or instead of being better "scientists."
      Agree wholeheartedly with this. Sometimes people forget that life is not digital; sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

      I can take the sheet music and play the notes of a Beethoven Sonata, but that doesn't mean I can create music. There is an intangible that separates the true virtuoso performance from the mere repetition of notes in the correct sequence and tempo.

      I think the same is true of being a GM in sports. You can't just plug numbers into an equation and get a correct answer. There is an indefinable quality that some GMs have and some don't (think David Kahn). In the past, TR seems to have had that quality. Whether he still does or not will be determined in part by how the rest of the season plays out
    1. PseudoSABR's Avatar
      PseudoSABR -
      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      Way too early to judge most of last offsesaon's signings.
      Welllllll........it was even earlier, when so many passed judgment on the Twins FA signings during the offseason.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      So the premise of this article is that maybe, just maybe, Ryan knew some stuff before he signed those players, stuff that you can't find in FanGraphs. But, like any good experiment, you don't actually know your prediction is right until it is proven. The proof is in the performance of the pitchers.
      No, the point of the article was to use 2013 stats to justify the 2012 signings. Which is a logical fallacy. There is nothing about what Ryan knew in the article. There is no, "We saw that Correia's breaking ball was pretty decent and if he just changes his grip slightly he will increase it's break by 3 inches."

      Results should have no impact on whether a signing was a good decision. Look at this way, the future can never affect the past as we understand the concept of time today.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      I would agree that in the strictest of senses, "what was known at the time the decision is made" is what's important in evaluating decision making. But I'm not at all sure "signing free agents in professional baseball" falls entirely into that circumstance.

      GM'ing is part science, part art. Interpreting known data, and using it to predict the future, is part of it, and there's certainly some science to it.

      But I think part of it also is the art of guessing how a player will fit into your roster, how his performance will translate into wins/losses, how he will be received by your customers and generate add'l revenue. The art of determining how much to offer a free agent, in terms of dollars and years, so that your offer has a chance to be the best, but not the best by so far as to be out of line. Even predicting the likelihood of health is as much art as science, IMO. We're also dealing with human beings here, so it's fair to say GMs must guess at human traits. "Will the guy continue to work hard if he gets financial security?" is one that comes to mind.

      Bottom line, I think it's fair to evaluate GM decisions both at the time they are made, and--while keeping that in mind and tempering your conclusions--to also make some evaluations based on results.

      I think over time some GMs prove to make more good decisions than than bad, and I think one reason for that could be they are better "artists" than other GMs, as well as or instead of being better "scientists."
      But doesn't all of that "art" come before the decision is made to sign a player? Isn't that the important part? If you sign a player who has all those intangibles a GM is looking for and the player develops schizophrenia does that mean the GM made a bad decision? Of course not, there was no way he could know. What matters is what he did and should have known before an offer was extended.

      My point isn't about stats vs. intangibles. My point is that the future can't affect the past. 2013 results, whether they're statistics or intangibles, have no bearing on 2012 signings.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
      My point isn't about stats vs. intangibles. My point is that the future can't affect the past. 2013 results, whether they're statistics or intangibles, have no bearing on 2012 signings.
      I'll quit with this: I disagree to some extent.

      In some situations, it's valid to look at results, and in retrospect, go back and use that information to evaluate decisions. The future can't affect the past, but it can sometimes affect our understanding of it.

      Drinking and driving is a bad decision no matter if you got home safely or not. No question, and results have no bearing on the decision.

      Signing humans to play a game isn't quite so clearcut, and results might be useful later in evaluating those decisions. In my opinion.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      I'll quit with this: I disagree to some extent.

      In some situations, it's valid to look at results, and in retrospect, go back and use that information to evaluate decisions. The future can't affect the past, but it can sometimes affect our understanding of it.

      Drinking and driving is a bad decision no matter if you got home safely or not. No question, and results have no bearing on the decision.

      Signing humans to play a game isn't quite so clearcut, and results might be useful later in evaluating those decisions. In my opinion.
      Can you give me an example? I can't come up with an instance where I have felt a signing was bad because of the results. I'm always disappointed because those results were predictable and the GM should have known before a player signed.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by PseudoSABR View Post
      Welllllll........it was even earlier, when so many passed judgment on the Twins FA signings during the offseason.
      And your problem with those noting that the Past is Probalistically Prologue...is what, exactly?
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
      Can you give me an example? I can't come up with an instance where I have felt a signing was bad because of the results. I'm always disappointed because those results were predictable and the GM should have known before a player signed.
      In the specific case of the Twins, it's tough because they sign so few, and rarely venture from the bottom of the barrel, but I can think of two who probably worked out better than anyone had the right to expect:

      Bob Tewksbury
      Jim Thome
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      In the specific case of the Twins, it's tough because they sign so few, and rarely venture from the bottom of the barrel, but I can think of two who probably worked out better than anyone had the right to expect:

      Bob Tewksbury
      Jim Thome
      Even in that example you say, "...worked out better than anyone had the right to expect...". So even here you are using the pre-signing expectations as your baseline.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
      No, the point of the article was to use 2013 stats to justify the 2012 signings. Which is a logical fallacy. There is nothing about what Ryan knew in the article. There is no, "We saw that Correia's breaking ball was pretty decent and if he just changes his grip slightly he will increase it's break by 3 inches."

      Results should have no impact on whether a signing was a good decision. Look at this way, the future can never affect the past as we understand the concept of time today.
      The problem with your stance is it means we are only allowed to evaluate GMs based on how they behaved relative to publicly available information such as FanGraphs. So you bias the whole conversation to that. As long as you stick to that information, and you can never be wrong, no matter how poorly the guys you favor do in the season.

      Most of the things Ryan might use prior to signing a player he holds in confidence with his scouts. He doesn't want other teams using that information because it will tend to drive up the price of a player, or, worst case, entice a competitor to sign the player before he has a chance to make a counter-offer. After he signs the player, it does nobody any good to make the information public. It only prejudices the player against the organization.

      The only things that have come out since the signings relate to durability and upside. Parker interviewed the Twins stats guy, who said he used Pitch F/X data combined with video to project a pitcher they signed. I.e. Carreia. They thought he had a chance to get more movement and be more effective than his numbers. The health thing was just about Correia not having health concerns and the other options having health concerns, which is why they passed on so many of them.

      But every time I bring up stuff like that, you deny it because it is not available to you. As though the conversations on this site must be filtered through your lenses.
    1. The Wise One's Avatar
      The Wise One -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      The problem with your stance is it means we are only allowed to evaluate GMs based on how they behaved relative to publicly available information such as FanGraphs. So you bias the whole conversation to that. As long as you stick to that information, and you can never be wrong, no matter how poorly the guys you favor do in the season.

      Most of the things Ryan might use prior to signing a player he holds in confidence with his scouts. He doesn't want other teams using that information because it will tend to drive up the price of a player, or, worst case, entice a competitor to sign the player before he has a chance to make a counter-offer. After he signs the player, it does nobody any good to make the information public. It only prejudices the player against the organization.

      The only things that have come out since the signings relate to durability and upside. Parker interviewed the Twins stats guy, who said he used Pitch F/X data combined with video to project a pitcher they signed. I.e. Carreia. They thought he had a chance to get more movement and be more effective than his numbers. The health thing was just about Correia not having health concerns and the other options having health concerns, which is why they passed on so many of them.

      But every time I bring up stuff like that, you deny it because it is not available to you. As though the conversations on this site must be filtered through your lenses.
      I love your comment. Count your blessings that you made it to the big league post level before you were on the receiving end of the argument used against a point they don't like but have no other way to disprove. "It is not available to me so therefore________________" When you ask for data, you well get rebuked for asking because you couldn't provide the information they wanted.
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